Raymond Boni

Two Angels for Cecil

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How about that: a tribute to Cecil Taylor recorded by a guitarist and a drummer. Well, Two Angels for Cecil does not feature music by the great pianist, but free improvisations between guitarist Raymond Boni and drummer Éric Échampard. The dedication to the master of free jazz comes from Boni as a way to salute the artist who first turned him to this kind of music. The two musicians played together in Claude Tchamitchian's Grand Lousadzak ensemble and decided to try something as a duo. This CD, recorded with an analog tape recorder on November 4, 1998, captures their very first notes. Unlike what the previous sentence could suggest, sound quality is not an issue here. On the contrary, the crude means give the music a slightly muted vintage flavor. As for the music, it is exemplary for a first meeting. Boni and Échampard quickly fall into phase, first driving through an energetic 16-minute number. Things settle down a little afterwards, but not for long, since both "The Naked Ape" and "Tribute to the Tribe" pack a lot of decibels. Tribute to Taylor notwithstanding, the idiom of choice here is closer to rock than jazz, although this may have more to do with the instrumentation than the players' background. But Échampard's occasional grooves and feverish use of the tom-toms, paired with Boni's mad axe playing on most of the numbers, point somewhere between Werther/Wittwer's I and Gregg Bendian and Nels Cline's Interstellar Space Revisited. Freeform rock fans will be delighted by the excitement and pyrotechnics; more introspective listeners should look away.

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